Published by: Harlequin Teen on June 27, 2017
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher
Click it: Goodreads | Amazon
I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.
India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.
But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Also by this author: Fall From India Place, Echoes of Scotland Street, Hero, Moonlight on Nightingale Way
One Line: Easily one of my favorite books of 2017.
In My Opinion: Must. Read. NOW!
Going into this book, I did not expect to be this blown away by it. Let me tell you right off the bat, this is by far on my favorite books in 2017 and from Samantha Young in general. I think, when this book initially came across my radar, I glossed over the synopsis and thought it sounded good, but I think I was more willing to give it a try because I’m a fan of Young and like her writing style. After requesting it, however, I totally forgot about it until it was closer to the time that I needed to read and review it. By then, I couldn’t even remember who this book was by, let alone what it was about, so I dove in pretty much blindly, and I couldn’t be happier about it. This is the first YA novel of hers I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be my last, if she chooses to write more in this genre.
I’ve read variations of this storyline time and time again, but none of them has quite hit the mark as much as this book has with me. Something about the characters and Young’s writing just drew me in from the very first page and I honestly couldn’t stop reading. I just had to know more and had to see what would happen next. I love it when I can’t stop thinking about a book long after I’ve read it, and it happened with this one.
Despite India being the main character, I really enjoyed the storyline of each character we meet in this book. Eloise, Finn, Theo, Hayley, Charlotte, and even Bryce…they all have complicated lives and when certain secrets come to light, it reiterates the fact that you really don’t know what a person is dealing with. Just because someone may seem to have the perfect life, it could actually be far from it. And those who suffered outright, it’s so intriguing seeing how they coped and their character development as they grew up.
Everything, from the drama to the romance, felt very fluid to me and played at just the right moments. I will say that I was hoping for more of an ending, but just because it’s pretty open to reader interpretation. I guess I just didn’t want the book to end and I really just wanted to stay in this world for as long as possible. I know that this book wouldn’t warrant a sequel, but I would love a companion novel, if only to revisit these characters again and see what they’re up to.
I seriously loved this book and can’t recommend it enough. It’s a definite must read!
“Headmaster Vanderbilt would like to introduce himself.”
Headmaster Vanderbilt turned out to be a guy probably only five years or so older than Theo. I expected someone stuffy, pretentious and more than a little condescending, but Headmaster Vanderbilt—a tall, reed-thin man who wore a tiny pair of rimless glasses perched on his big Roman nose—was warm and welcoming.
His welcome, in fact, would be the warmest I’d receive that day.
My first class was Microeconomics and to my horror Eloise, Finn and their whole crew took the class. I hadn’t been expecting to see them all together in one class and while the teacher introduced me I had to quickly put my mask of indifference on.
Eloise didn’t acknowledge my presence as I took a seat on the other side of the classroom. My eyes drifted to Finn but he was staring at the teacher, almost too studiously, like he was trying to avoid my gaze. I shook that suspicion off, knowing Finn thought he was superior to me—I probably wasn’t even on his radar.
Not that I cared if I was on his radar or not.
My Microeconomics teacher was pretty cool and I got through the class not feeling totally out of my depth. I considered that a positive for the day.
Fiction Writing was next and Charlotte was in my class. When I walked in, her eyes lit up and I thought I detected the beginnings of a smile before a thought passed over her expression. Her shoulders slumped, and she looked like she wanted to blend into the background.
I decided to ignore her weirdness and waved at her as the teacher approached to introduce herself. The teacher saw my exchange with Charlotte and insisted I sit with her.
“Hey,” I said as I took the seat beside her.
Charlotte gave me a half smile, half grimace. “Hi.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t cheat off you.”
Her answer was a tremulous smile.
Encouraged, I nodded at her violet dress. “That color looks awesome on you.”
Appearing almost taken aback, Charlotte glanced down at the dress and ran her fingertips over it. “Really? Bryce said it washed me out. She said I look trash in it.”
Of course she did. I got more than a few mean girl vibes off that girl. “Well, she’s wrong. It’s really cute.”
“Thanks.” Charlotte gave me a shy smile before wariness replaced it and she turned determinedly to face the front.
Her body language told me not to push talking to her, but I felt hope.
Smiling inwardly, I faced forward, too, and listened to the teacher as she started class.
Two classes passed and I already had more homework than I’d ever had back at Fair Oaks High. I wasn’t freaking out about it just yet, considering I had no friends and no extracurricular activities to distract me from all the schoolwork, but once I did I’d have to find a way to juggle it all.
As I was walking toward my next class I noticed the glances and full-on stares from my new schoolmates. Their looks varied from curious to sneering and I felt a tingle of wariness across the back of my neck. Turning a corner on my search for my Modern European History class, I came face-to-face with my stepsister-to-be and her girls. They sashayed down the hall like an ad for a TV show about beautiful popular high school kids, long hair fluttering out behind them like silk, long trim legs on display in their designer dresses and elongated by their Jimmy Choo sandals.
Eloise saw me, looked right through me and kept on walking without a word.
My skin felt hot with embarrassment at her obvious cut.
I watched her disappear around the corner with her best friends before looking around the hallway. That’s when I realized I hadn’t been imagining the sneers of my classmates.
A sick feeling settled in my gut as I wondered what the hell was going on.